It’s complicated by danah boyd

iQ was fortunate enough to hear internationally recognised social media researcher danah boyd speak back in 2012 (click here to access all of iQ’s resources on danah boyd). Now boyd has a book coming out entitled It’s complicated. The blurb from the book (via Amazon) explains what it’s about:

What is new about how teenagers communicate through services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Do social media affect the quality of teens’ lives? In this eye-opening book, youth culture and technology expert danah boyd uncovers some of the major myths regarding teens’ use of social media. She explores tropes about identity, privacy, safety, danger, and bullying. Ultimately, boyd argues that society fails young people when paternalism and protectionism hinder teenagers’ ability to become informed, thoughtful, and engaged citizens through their online interactions. Yet despite an environment of rampant fear-mongering, boyd finds that teens often find ways to engage and to develop a sense of identity.

Boyd’s conclusions are essential reading not only for parents, teachers, and others who work with teens but also for anyone interested in the impact of emerging technologies on society, culture, and commerce in years to come. Offering insights gleaned from more than a decade of original fieldwork interviewing teenagers across the United States, boyd concludes reassuringly that the kids are all right. At the same time, she acknowledges that coming to terms with life in a networked era is not easy or obvious. In a technologically mediated world, life is bound to be complicated.

This is not an advertisement for the book, just a pointer to a resource that many people may find useful. Public libraries may stock this book.

I need to know about social networking and online friends

Continuing on with the resources provided by the Australian Communication and Media Authority‘s Cybersmart website, the information social networking and online friends is very useful. It includes information on:

  • Are they my friends in real life too?
  • Know the basics of safe social networking
  • Meeting online friends in the real world – do you really know who you’re meeting?
Well worth checking out. Read the whole post here.

http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/Teens/I%20need%20to%20know%20about/Social%20networking%20and%20online%20friends.aspx

School to monitor students’ social media posts

In an interesting development, CNN is reporting that a California school district is spending over $40,000 on monitoring students’ Facebook posts, comments, tweets and the like for  a year.

The district in Glendale, California, is paying $40,500 to a firm to monitor and report on 14,000 middle and high school students’ posts on Twitter, Facebook and other social media for one year.

Though critics liken the monitoring to government stalking, school officials and their contractor say the purpose is student safety.

As classes began this fall, the district awarded the contract after it earlier paid the firm, Geo Listening, $5,000 last spring to conduct a pilot project monitoring 9,000 students at three high schools and a middle school. Among the results was a successful intervention with a student “who was speaking of ending his life” on his social media, said Chris Frydrych, CEO of the firm.

Do you think this is a good way to keep students safe or an invasion of privacy? Read the whole story and see the video here.

Anonymity, privacy and security online – 2013 Pew Report

A new survey by Pew Internet reveals that:

  • 86% of internet users have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints—ranging from clearing cookies to encrypting their email.
  • 55% of internet users have taken steps to avoid observation by specific people, organizations, or the government.
  • 21% of internet users have had an email or social networking account compromised or taken over by someone else without permission.
  • 12% have been stalked or harassed online.
  • 11% have had important personal information stolen such as their Social Security Number, credit card, or bank account information.
  • 6% have been the victim of an online scam and lost money.
  • 6% have had their reputation damaged because of something that happened online.
  • 4% have been led into physical danger because of something that happened online.

Although the survey was completed in the United States, there’s certainly transfer of thoughts and anxieties that affect Australians as well. Read the whole report here.

Online behaviour fact sheet

The Line, an Australian government website that helps young adults decide where they draw the line in lots of areas of their lives, has developed an online behaviour fact sheet designed for parents. Included are ten tips to protect kids online:

  • Limit the time they spend online – set clear boundaries and stick to them
  • Get protector software on your computers that blocks access to risky sites.
  • Get involved with, and understand the technology your child is using
  • Direct your kid to age-appropriate sites and find out about the sites they are visiting
  • Allow internet use only in shared family areas at home
  • Explain that they must not give out their phone number or address online at any time
  • Encourage them to report behaviour that makes them feel uncomfortable or afraid.
  • Without scaring them, explain that stranger danger also works online.
  • Ask your child to let you know if someone your child has met online wants to get in contact or meet face to face.
  • Make sure they understand what behaviour is acceptable online, both from them and others.

Read the whole fact sheet here.

Teenagers are anonymously posting cruel remarks about themselves on social media

The Age has recently reported that in a bizarre cry for help, some teenagers who appear to be victims of cyberbullying are actually using social media platforms to self harm.

Last year, researchers at the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Centre found that up to 10 per cent of first-year university students had ”falsely posted a cruel remark against themselves, or cyberbullied themselves, during high school”.

For the ”digital self-harmer” the presence of an audience appears to serve other purposes too. Anonymously calling oneself a ”loser” online allows them to test out other people’s attitudes: do other people see me this way too? Is my perception of myself shared universally?

Read the whole article here.

Another social media sacking

Yet another high profile case of someone being sacked due to social media posts has hit the news. The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

An interior designer who used a social networking site to try to connect with potential customers for his out-of-hours business has been sacked by his day job.

Bradford Pedley’s main employer, Canberra design firm peckvonhartel, sacked Mr Pedley hours after hearing about the LinkedIn email, which pledged to expand his fledgling business ”to a full-time design practice”.

So although this was not a post that involved bullying or illegal activity, the employer took exception to the employee’s post which resulted in dismissal. A reminder of how powerful social media can be and how we all must think before we post.

Read the whole article here.

Helping families live safe digital lives

Yoursphere for parents provides an amazing array of resources on

  • Facebook must-knows
  • social media
  • cybersafety and
  • privacy

for students and parents. Although some posts are US specific, most of the resources are applicable to us in Australia.

Mary Kay Hoal is the author and creator of Yourshpere, a US based site with a wealth of information on ways to keep safe when using social media. “She is an Internet safety expert in the USA and the founder of Yoursphere.com.”

I’m 13 and none of my friends are on Facebook

Last week, Mashable published this post on the waning appeal of Facebook by a New York teenager.

Now, when we are old enough to get Facebook, we don’t want it. By the time we could have Facebooks, we were already obsessed with Instagram. Facebook was just this thing all our parents seemed to have.

Let’s say I get invited to a party, and there’s underage drinking. I’m not drinking, but someone pulls out a camera. Even if I’m not carrying a red Solo cup, I could be photographed behind a girl doing shots. Later that week, the dumb-dumb decides to post photos from that “amazing” party. If my mom saw I was at a party with drinking, even if I wasn’t participating, I’d be dead. This isn’t Facebook’s fault, but it happens there.

Facebook is also a big source of bullying in middle school. Kids might comment something mean on a photo of you, or message you mean things. This isn’t Facebook’s fault, but again, it does happen there. If my mom heard I was getting bullied on Facebook, she would tell me to quit right away.

An interesting insight into teenagers’ thoughts about social media. Read the whole post here.

Parents underestimate risk of cyber-bullying for teens

Recently The Sunday Age published a report stating that

Nearly 80 per cent of Australian children under 10 years of age use social networks. Among older teenagers – those 16 and 17 – parents underestimate bullying and risky online behaviour. But the most likely candidate for cyber-bullying is a 14 year old girl who checks her Facebook account daily.

By the time teenagers are 16, parents start to underestimate the likelihood of their child being bullied or involved in upsetting experiences. Only 17 per cent of parents said their 16-year-old was bothered by something on the internet, but 26 per cent of teenagers of that age said they suffered through an upsetting experience.

What is of concern is that once parents believe that their work is done, that their children know how to successfully navigate the social media world is when they are actually most at risk.

Read the whole article here.